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Discussion on: Now You Have a Job! But How Does Learning Fit in at Work?

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tinuola profile image
tinuola

Part of this depends a lot on your team's values and actions around growth and professional development. Learning should be expected of ALL developers, not just "Junior Devs". Does your team collectively embrace learning as key to every developer's job? If so, how is that demonstrated day-to-day? (Not just by going to conferences once or twice a year.)

In my case, I have a manager who embodies this value and has put actions behind it. For example, he bought team subscriptions to Front End Masters, Coursera, Vue Mastery and so on. To make sure developers HAD TIME to learn, he introduced "Learning Fridays". On Fridays, there's no active dev work (unless it's something critical). And to make sure sure we're using our Fridays as intended, we have a learning sprint board and stand-ups to track our progress. We also have monthly Jam sessions where 2-3 devs give 15-30 minute presentations about the outcome of their learning.

Basically, if you're expected to learn, the key question to be asking first is how does your team's environment and culture support that? Look around.... Ideally it shouldn't be all on you. Ask other developers on your team about how they learn. If learning is actively encouraged/embraced then someone should be able to give you pointers on what they're doing. If it's not (as in it's all talk) then perhaps you ARE on your own and may have to dedicate some nights and weekends to leveling up.

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jenshaw profile image
Jenny Shaw Author

Until recently, professional growth and development was something we had to work on ourselves -- we had to find time in our schedules where we could somehow squeeze it in. It didn't work out so well because the junior devs naturally prioritized completing feature tasks before the end of a sprint, and even though there's talk about dedicating Fridays to learning, we rarely ever found time for it because we're still trying to wrap up tasks with deadlines. I can only assume non-junior devs were doing their own reading up and research. But it wasn't, as you described, a collective team effort.

Lately, our lead has taken the initiative to thoroughly go through every task on our sprint and write out plans and code step by step before handing the task to us. The thought and effort is certainly there, but there could be some argument as to why this isn't exactly a fulfilling or efficient use learning or task time.

I've been super fascinated by the feedback I get from other devs on this topic and I intend to slowly introduce these ideas to my team and see what catches. But, yeah, in the meantime, I think that to satisfy my needs with growth and learning, I'll have to do a lot of the learning on my own where and when I can.